summing up Paris meeting: the precious intervention of Benoît and Klavdij’s blazing crunch, you find here some of the crucial points we raised and few consideration on the theme of IDENTITY.
- Amateurs or Artists
- Learning to edit and understanding one’s own work direction
- Approaching your subjects and/or any assignment
- Sources and influences
1. Amateurs are contented practising their passions, they make it a point not to trouble themselves with complications of which they could not care a row of pins. Artists, urged by the relentless desire to surpass themselves, bending toward an horizon unreachable by definition, are on the contrary compelled to a self-inflicted struggle up a very steep path. There is no reason to embark on such hardship unless inherent to one’s own nature. Many of those who enter RM are generally into such course, we accompany them and help them to believe their efforts are precious. If for any of you this isn’t absolutely clear and you are not ready to confront some healthy pressure, perhaps you should consider to free your place to someone else.
2. We may together discuss specific possible approaches to your subjects and suggest some ways to proceed, but editing and understanding in which direction your work is going is not something to be done in fifteen minutes, nor in one hour: it ought to be your own in-constant-evolution job. This means you can submit us yours doubts and tentative edits. We could try some progress together but then you shall have to move foreword on your own. It also means you should permanently live with your – printed – selection of photographs and allow and spend time, a lot of time, to grow and evolve with it. You will realize which are the images that don’t make sense, discover those that stand out and those you still miss. Proceed by making three groups: selection A – sure IN; selection X – sure OUT; selection B – MAY BE. Selections may change several times accompanying your work throughout its evolution slowly revealing you a broader general understanding of your project. Remember there is your main editing and many specific ones according to whom you address them, each would have its own specific presentation form.
3. Creative work proceeds according its own will, pace and direction: learn to recognise such will above anything and follow it even when exorbitantly complex. It is an easier thing to do than one may think as it coincide, with what most attracts you. Creative impulse never issues from a mental process, the rational part – how to do it – comes after: once you know what you want. “Vision”, memory of the imagination, in words hard to explain, is a sort of image you form in your head of something unseen. Once more pre-visualization determine the first step toward the conscience of vision: it is an elemental necessary process many of you already possess and you all need to learn how to control. Any form of creativity offspring from desire and there is no desire without object. You need to identify the object and rationalize how to get to it in real terms. As there are no better ways to progress than taking photographs, the assignments we give you are precious occasions to do that. If your are a photographer (not just a camera/telephone-owner making images) you should be eager not to miss these opportunities. The difficulty is to plunge into such deep concentration allowing your vision to materialize, when that happens, take the risk to go all the way at any price. Protect yourself, protect your time and concentration from dispersion… Beware that connections (in any form) make us move sideways, not foreword, not in depth. Remember, again and again, photography is time, is space and is physical; photography is your will to imagine and your will to see; is desire and emotion, thought and rigour and one of the grandest adventures you may ever experience!
4. Feed your imagination with literature: reading fills the eyes with images and plunges you into a constant subconscious (visionary) process of pre-visualization. Feed your capacity to recognise perfect form and composition by looking at great master’s paintings. Don’t look before shooting images of what you are going to photograph, it pollutes your visual virginity and inhibit creativity. Today you could no longer effort being unaware of what has been done in the language of photography and how is today definitively changing…
If we consider raw matter to be the tangible reality – we cannot assert that we are simply made of the ensemble of amino-acid, saturated fats, nitrogen and hydrated principles constituting the transitory substance inside the perimeter of our person. If reality – existing only for what we (each differently) perceive – is difficult to be determined, identity – often a convention – representing a partial aspect of reality is a far more ambiguous concept to define. Nonetheless reality of photographs is something (else) that we determine and may partly control. Identity – a character – is about perception: in photography reality is essentially the point of view upon it. In this sense it embodies the primeval essence of photography: the perception of phenomena’s multiple aspects and the expression of appearance. Beyond human identity, the degrees of the external “image” individuals project of themselves – the history of which have been so articulately presented by Benoît – there are several more approaches to be considered. We mentioned the identity theory: the figure of a curve line is one reality embodying and expressing a dual identity: convex on one side, concave on the other. Another example is the one about the multiple perceptions of substance’s essence: water for instance, being both transparent and reflective, solid and liquid; light, the most mysterious, at the same time visible and intangible; the perception of sizes: we all remember having entered a room we perceived immeasurably vast, and finding it narrow and smaller one day not being any longer children, low and small on its horizon. The character, the aspect, the identity of things – brighter, darker; newer, older; smoother, rougher; bigger, smaller; near, far; transparent, reflecting; moving, motionless, dry, wet… – “is” only in relation to the conditions determining its perception. “Sky is not blue: sky is sky and blue is blue – nothing exists, everything is”. I said previously that the identity is often a convention particularly and abstractly when we recognise it as collective. The political figures, flags of nations, the beliefs of religions, the belonging to human, ethnic or social groups, the slogans and mottoes of ideologies…, are conventions we call (identify) collective identity.
 J.L. Borges – The prism and the mirror – collected essays
Fiction, literary, speculative:
Fernando Pessoa – inevitable! – and his multiple heteronyms, possessing distinct biographies, appearances and writing styles; some of the most famous are:
- Bernardo Soares – Poet and prose writer, author of the fantastic Book of Disquiet
- Ricardo Reis – Poet and prose writer – author of Odes
- Álvaro de Campos – Poet and prose writer Collected Poems Vol. 2, 1928–1935
- Alberto Caeiro – Poet and master of other Fernando Pessoa’s heteronyms
…And about 80 more among heteronyms and different characters.
Virginia Woolf Orlando
Jorge Luis Borges The Other – extract from The Book of Sand
Feodor Dostoevskij The Double
Vladimir Nabokov The real life of Sebastian Knight
Luigi Pirandello the fictions: The late Mattia Pascal; One, no one and one hundred thousand
MILAN KUNDERA Identity
Aldous Huxley The Doors of Perception
PHILIP ROTH The Human Stain
A.S. BYATT Possession
MARCEL PROUST La Recherche du Temps perdu
Robert Louis Stevenson Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Thomas Mann Doctor Faustus
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Faust
ALBER CAMUS The Foreigner
UMBERTO ECO The Cemetery of Prague
DAVID LYNCH Elephant Man
STANLEY KUBRICK Clockwork Orange
JOHN WOO Face/Off
SPIKE JONZE Being John Malkovich
PETER HOWITT Sliding doors
Christopher Nolan Memento
DOUG LIMAN The Bourne Identity
D.J. CARUSO Taking Lives
DAVID FINCHER The Game
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